Laura Ashley chairman Khoo Kay Peng was “disappointed” as rising fashion and online sales failed to offset a slump in the retailer’s preliminary profits.

The homewares and fashion retailer recorded a 33% slump in profits before tax and exceptional items of £5.6m in the year to June 30, while statutory pre-tax profits plunged 98% to £100,000.

Group sales declined 7.2% year on year to £257.2m and overall like for likes dipped 0.4%, despite the retailer’s fashion like for likes rising 9.7%.

Laura Ashley London

Laura Ashley’s fashion like-for-like sales rose nearly 10%

Online sales increased by 4% to £59.7m during the period and accounted for 25% of overall retail revenue.

Khoo said: “We are disappointed to report a fall in profits. Continued margin pressure and the impact of a changing retail landscape have contributed to the overall reduction in profit before tax.

“We are, however, encouraged by the progress and continued growth being made by our online business and will be launching a new digital platform in the weeks to come. We are also pleased with the 9.7% like-for-like growth of our fashion business in what is an extremely competitive sector.”

The retailer unveiled plans to sell the commercial property it owns in Singapore, which has previously been earmarked as a headquarters to bolster its expansion into the Asian market, including China and India.

Laura Ashley said “whilst expansion into the Asian market continues to be the group’s strategy, the retail environment, both domestically and internationally, has changed and the board believes that this is an appropriate time to dispose of the property in Singapore”.